England batsman Joe Root would have no problem with the introduction of red and yellow cards, as the sport continues to wrestle with the problem of on-field aggression.
The frequency and tone of sledging and the apparently increasing number of spats between rival players is under the microscope at present, with Root’s old sparring partner David Warner at the centre.
He is known as one of the game’s most combustible characters and was sent home from the 2013 Champions Trophy for punching Root in a Birmingham bar during a night out.
But he is also a fiery figure on the field and he found himself at the centre of another controversy on Sunday when he exchanged words with India’s Rohit Sharma, demanding the batsman “speak English” to him.
That led former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe to pen a column for Cricinfo, calling for the introduction of umpire cautions and dismissals for misbehaving players.
Crowe also called Warner “thuggish” and “juvenile” and suggested he could soon become involved in an on-field brawl.
Root was on hand with a familiar refrain about “playing hard and not crossing the line” but appeared receptive to the putative card system.
“It seems there’s a lot of people who are not happy with the way players are holding themselves on the field so if that will sort it out then why not?,” he said.
“You come across it and you have to find a way to deal with it. When you’re out there your job is to score runs or take wickets and if your focus is elsewhere then you’re not doing your best for the team. You just instinctively know where the line is. It’s about showing respect for each other.
“You try to make sure you have respect for the opposition but still play to win and play hard cricket. That’s how we want it to be played. You know where the line is generally and as long as you don’t cross it that’s what it’s all about.
“I’m sure the ICC will handle it, it’s up to them to sort it out.”
Despite Root’s late night run-in with Warner, the 24-year-old Yorkshire batsman does not expect to see opponents getting physical with each other in the middle any time soon.
“I can’t see it to be honest. Someone will have to be in a really bad place to do that. For me it should only be about scoring runs and taking wickets,” he said.
“It should not be about trying to upset the opposition too much. You should do that with ball or bat. There have been a few things that have happened over the last few months that haven’t been good for the game but I can’t see it leading to a punch-up. It’s not ice hockey.”
While England continued preparations for their second Tri-Series match, against India on Tuesday, South Africa’s AB de Villiers fired a record-breaking World Cup warning in Johannesburg.
He hit the fastest ever ODI century against West Indies, reaching three figures in just 31 balls as the Proteas piled on 439 for two.
That kind of blockbuster effort appears a step beyond what England are capable of producing in limited-overs cricket, but Root insists the squad are working on it.
“He is a bit of a freak, he’s a very good player, but as a side that’s what we’re aiming to do, to get those big scores,” said Root. “Okay, it would be a serious effort to get anywhere near that but as a side that’s our aim moving forward. I think we’re not far away from doing that now.
“It’s exciting to see just before a World Cup and it’s an unbelievable effort. You want entertainment like that and hopefully it will happen more frequently.
“If someone bats like that he’s not missing many so good luck to the bowlers. You could probably have put five or six stumps in and he would have still made that hundred.”